When Your Fave Is Problematic

When Your Fave Is Problematic

Tina Fey, I love you, but I think you can do better.
19311
views

I love Tina Fey. I’ve loved her since I was about 10 years old and started watching "30 Rock" with my parents.

Even as a kid, I saw myself in her portrayal of the nerdy, awkward, intelligent comedy writer Liz Lemon. Fey was a self-proclaimed feminist, and a great example of a powerful, funny, unapologetic woman with a strong network of funny female friends whom I also adored, including Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch.

She has always been my favorite celebrity.

I’ve read her book "Bossypants" no less than five times, I’ve seen every project she’s written for, and I even dressed up as her for Halloween one year in middle school (specifically, my costume was Tina Fey’s SNL portrayal of Sarah Palin, though the teachers and students at my school just assumed I was dressed up as Sarah Palin; those heathens).

Recently, I’ve started seeing tons of articles popping up on social media detailing the insensitive or troublesome behavior of generally well-respected celebrities.

Through my reading, I’ve been exposed to the term “white feminism,” a sector of feminism that focuses primarily on the struggles of the “average” cis, able, moderately wealthy, white woman while ignoring the ways in which different factors like race, sexual orientation, and class can impact a woman’s experience.

I read about different influential people who were praised for being feminists, when in fact their behavior has proven that they hold no regard for intersectionality. I’ve also been reading about the ways in which many have used derogatory terms, mocked large groups of people, and appropriated other cultures without it having a detrimental effect on their public persona.

It was in this research that I started to hear my idol’s name thrown around in conjunction with the word “problematic.”

I read countless articles about Fey’s unsavory racial humor on her shows "30 Rock" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," ableism in 30 Rock, and her selective feminism which includes repeatedly making sex workers the punchlines of her jokes.

I was horrified.

For one, my idol, who I had always held to a such high standard, has a history of taking cheap shots for humor, mocking members of marginalized groups. Also, I was disappointed in myself for having such a blind spot when it came to Tina Fey’s humor.

How could I claim to be someone who wants to stamp out injustice in the world when one of my favorite TV shows had relied upon stereotypes and degradation for laughs?

From scouring the internet and seeing blog posts upon blog posts of “problematic faves,” I think it’s safe to say that nearly everyone’s favorite celebrity or public figure has said or done something that can be deemed offensive. Some of these actions are obviously reprehensible and are immediately condemned by society, and some are more subtle and often considered excusable by the general public.

This is not only limited to famous people though, nearly every person has said or done something insensitive or offensive.

Making the occasional offensive joke or ignorant comment doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is bad. Oftentimes it’s just a stage people go through before embarking on the journey to become a better, smarter person.

Like how everyone in middle school had super gelled hair or super dark eyeliner below their eyes. People make mistakes, and they grow to look back at their school pictures with horror. It’s a natural part of growing into a better human.

On Twitter, I recently saw another very funny writer and comedian I admire acknowledging her past problematic behavior. Gaby Dunn made a list of things she has done in her career as well as her personal life, that she considers to be problematic in some way.

In putting this on the internet for her fans and critics alike to see, Dunn is holding herself accountable, something that I think is important for people to do. Apologizing and acknowledging one’s mistakes won’t erase damage that has been done, but it often indicates that the person who did the hurting sees the error in his/her ways and is ready for growth.

When someone does or says something that is hurtful to others in some way, I think the brave and respectable thing to do is to stop and examine your behavior instead of shutting down others' feelings and refusing to take any blame for your actions.

What disappoints me most about Tina Fey is her refusal to acknowledge or learn from her critics who have pointed out the ways in which some of her writing has made them feel uncomfortable or isolated.

I wish she had listened to the feedback she received about problematic jokes on "30 Rock" to improve her writing and make it more inclusive.

Instead, her newest show "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" seems to have many of the same problems. Fey has dodged the criticism she received by refusing to comment, saying that her goal “is not to explain jokes.”

Her refusal to apologize or acknowledge her mistakes slightly reminds me of a certain large orange bully who is running for president, and if there's any incentive for someone to apologize, it should be to avoid having anything in common with Donald Trump.

Tina Fey is still my fave, albeit a somewhat problematic one. She was the first person I saw on TV that showed me that a woman can be the head writer of a comedy show, she was the first person I saw on TV who made me feel cool for being awkward and having bad eyesight, and she was the first woman I saw on TV speak vocally against sexism.

While I look up to her in so many ways, that doesn’t mean that I think she’s infallible.

I hope that she begins to listen to her critics and see their concerns as a way to improve her work instead of seeing them as attacking her.

Though I think she has made several mistakes, I truly don’t think Tina Fey has bad intentions, and she has even written multiple times about her quest to erase toxic biases she learned at a young age. But I am confident that she can do better as a brilliant comedian, and I think that everyone can strive to be better.

Cover Image Credit: brokeassstuart.com

Popular Right Now

Sorry Not Sorry, My Parents Paid For My Coachella Trip

No haters are going to bring me down.
125852
views

This piece is intended to be a satire of an experience at Coachella.

With Coachella officially over, lives can go back to normal and we can all relive Beyonce’s performance online for years to come. Or, if you were like me and actually there, you can replay the experience in your mind for the rest of your life, holding dear to the memories of an epic weekend and a cultural experience like no other on the planet.

And I want to be clear about the Beyonce show: it really was that good.

But with any big event beloved by many, there will always be the haters on the other side. The #nochella’s, the haters of all things ‘Chella fashion. And let me just say this, the flower headbands aren’t cultural appropriation, they’re simply items of clothing used to express the stylistic tendency of a fashion-forward event.

Because yes, the music, and sure, the art, but so much of what Coachella is, really, is about the fashion and what you and your friends are wearing. It's supposed to be fun, not political! Anyway, back to the main point of this.

One of the biggest things people love to hate on about Coachella is the fact that many of the attendees have their tickets bought for them by their parents.

Sorry? It’s not my fault that my parents have enough money to buy their daughter and her friends the gift of going to one of the most amazing melting pots of all things weird and beautiful. It’s not my fault about your life, and it’s none of your business about mine.

All my life, I’ve dealt with people commenting on me, mostly liking, but there are always a few that seem upset about the way I live my life.

One time, I was riding my dolphin out in Turks and Cacaos, (“riding” is the act of holding onto their fin as they swim and you sort of glide next to them. It’s a beautiful, transformative experience between human and animal and I really think, when I looked in my dolphin’s eye, that we made a connection that will last forever) and someone I knew threw shade my way for getting to do it.

Don’t make me be the bad guy.

I felt shame for years after my 16th birthday, where my parents got me an Escalade. People at school made fun of me (especially after I drove into a ditch...oops!) and said I didn’t deserve the things I got in life.

I can think of a lot of people who probably don't deserve the things in life that they get, but you don't hear me hating on them (that's why we vote, people). Well, I’m sick of being made to feel guilty about the luxuries I’m given, because they’ve made me who I am, and I love me.

I’m a good person.

I’m not going to let the Coachella haters bring me down anymore. Did my parents buy my ticket and VIP housing? Yes. Am I sorry about that? Absolutely not.

Sorry, not sorry!

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Harasta

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Elliot Stabler, We Miss You

Not all heroes wear capes.
190
views

In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. The victims of these vicious felonies are saved by two heroes who do not wear capes: Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson.

The King and Queen of New York, Detectives Benson and Stabler not only save the day but entertain me through weekends and procrastination. If you are a fan of the show you know Elliot Stabler leaves "Law and Order: SVU" after 12 wonderful seasons. It shall go down as one of the saddest days of the 21st century.

Elliot Stabler was not one for easy hearts. He was violent and angry but he cared about the people he loved. You couldn't help but love his many kids and wife at home even though you would never stop hoping that he and Olivia Benson would get together. One of the great things and something I miss most is how Olivia and Elliot worked so well together and their chemistry was bouncing more than Cardi B at Coachella. And although at times it may seem as if maybe there might be a chance you know deep down the greatest love was that of a partner.



I mean, come on. Look how cute. The banter, the sly eye contact, be still my beating heart.

Detective Stabler, I miss your violent outbursts. You were a hot-headed detective who sometimes didn't know your limits. That's why you were such a great character to watch. We never knew how far you would go to help a victim. You were interesting. You loved your job yet struggled with it. You cared about your co-workers yet you were selfish. You wanted to help the victims who had been hurt yet you would hurt others to help them.

You tell em' Stabler!

Can we all take a moment to appreciate a shirtless Elliot Stabler? Although the show is still going strong, you are missed, detective. How could we forget all the good and bad times together?

Cover Image Credit: NBC Universal

Related Content

Facebook Comments